living ontology

The living ontology is an upper ontology and (like all ontology) provides a core glossary for open politics itself and the Living Ontology Web which includes Living Platform itself and web services:


The exact mapping of LO onto URIs can be handled a number of ways though memorable URIs are strongly encouraged. In a standard wiki URI such as used at Wikipedia, "/wiki/" prefaces the name of wiki pages, leaving open the possibility of presenting a simpler version at the root of the domain. LO would advise alternatives like "/print/" or "/edit/" for the printable or editable versions of the page, or "/by/" to retrieve attribution or page history. See wiki versus REST? and rd/in/out? for other examples.

Using standard verbs is only one way LO simplifies the memorization of URIs. A taxonomy exploiting living ontology packs metadata? into the page names to form an exact but flexible category for any page describing a process. This will be in common at least across the Living Ontology Web, a set of web services that use common generative naming? conventions. These will ultimately become ECG_naming conventions? so as to put open politics in force more reliably.

LO forbids WikiWord?s entirely as they vary from English usage, do not conserve capitals and render proper names in several ways. Proper names use underscore where there is any ambiguity potential, e.g. Craig_Hubley

With reasonable extensions to any LO taxonomy, very complex MIME?-like objects may be retrieved, e.g."domain.tld/by/" may return the whole history or attribution structure. A more complex string like "domain.tld/by/Last_Name,SSN" could return "Edwards,9999999" or an XML structure - adding ".xml" to the end could specify the format of the information to be returned, reconciling the structure with MIME usage.

This is an example of preposition controls - some reasons to prefer "by" to "authors" or "author" is:
  • it's shorter
  • it avoids the problem of plurals
  • it carries semantics of deadline and commitment

[+] history and usage


There is some overlap with, but deliberate attempt to exclude "non-upper" questions:

Formally, the LO is the superset of Living Agenda, Living Petition, Living Letter and other applications of Living Platform itself that deal with all human command verbs there implied using open politics methods. Most are clearly marked. The Efficient Civics Guild has final say over its scope and what is included.

Technically, the LO is an active ontology employing better URI axioms than the W3 ontology. It emphasizes present-tense, active statements and phrases that read as sentence fragment?s. As in structured programming? or functional programming? the verbs are the highest level abstraction, though in being attached to a domain they are also emulating object programming?insofar as the domain is itself an object.

Philosophically and linguistically and politically and socially, the LO supports The Embodiment? movement.


"The complexity of the systems we've set up and how we interact... are nothing compared to the complexity of systems which nature has impressed on us which we barely understand... the strongest argument for democratic reform and a less concentration of power, because a total concentration of power?, it seems to me, can't deal with the complexities... this concept of the social economy... can, I think, provide market incentives to achieve social goal?s." - Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada leader http://homerdixon.com/download/conversation_paul_martin.pdf(external link)

"Arguably, whichever group can best use the Internet to create new channels of power and community may well define the next couple hundred years. So this is mildly terrifying, but it creates a tremendous opportunity. We can seize the opportunity to transform public life –international and national — in a civic, deliberative, democratic way" - Zephyr Teachout? Zephyr Teachout(external link)

"You want to change people’s psychological connectivity with the world? Give them an instrument that gives them vital information like how to get a job, where to get food or medical aid, curfew rules so they won’t get shot, and alongside that education in how to become a free citizen and not a subject, ways to register their needs and wants and structural aids in how to organize to get them, connectivity to military intelligence, news from around the world, the possibilities are broad and far ranging." -TM Lutas?http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/archives/004995.html(external link)

"Primates, preservation and peacemaking? in our time" - title of a talk by Jane Goodall?, UN Goodwill Ambassador?
http://www.sanantonio.gov/library/news/letterArchive/nl0309.asp?res=800&ver=true(external link)

"Making war is difficult, but preventing war or establishing viable societies after war sometimes seems almost impossible... I’d like to see much much more effort go into “network-centric peacemaking.”... we need about ten times the effort on peacemaking and nation building that we put into war-making. Let’s get started." - Jim Moore? http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/jim/2004/11/14#a912(external link)

"Nobody feels the blood nor the sin of it all," said Canadian General Romeo Dallaire? who led UN forces? during the Rwandan genocide?, www.16beavergroup.org/mtarchive/archives/2004_08.php, now appointed to the Canadian Senate? and an advocate of vigorous peacemaking abroad: Conflict Resolution Network Canadahttps://www.crnetwork.ca/reportingcanada/index.asp(external link)

politics must evolve

how the ontology evolves

As an open system Living Platform itself relies on a shared mindset that mediates the interaction of users with an environment. The users include the designers and donors and sponsors and those who inspire it such as those listed above - this is what makes open systems reflexive.

Even such wise expert cognition? of any environment is not perfect, and combining multiple point of view is also not perfect - collective intelligence is a weak mirror of conciousness?. So any system that is built using this as its guide to reality is not perfect and cannot become a perfect system. It is not even capable of becoming a closed system as it is steered by cognitive processes of people who are themselves "open" to much input. Any of the above people might change their own minds, or their priorities. A shared ethic that puts moral priorities in a fixed order is one way to stabilize a foundation ontology? that supporters can agree on over a long period of time, for instance, "seven generations." From that known deadline they can backcast to fixed time horizons to define nearer term goals.

This is just one way to formalize joint cognition using constraint?, precedent? and means to self-organize - according to Donella Meadows there are twelve levers involved in achieving such change.

evolution within Living Platform

Like the common law or any electoral system Living Platform itself is a series of imperfections raised to an art,

The joint cognition of its users is recorded, both fears all LP worst cases, and ambitions, e.g. all LP best cases, to reflect a living collective intelligence:

A living ontology remains open and cannot become a closed system or perfect system precisely because of its evolution and willingness to accomodate sometimes-arbitrary constraint. While rulesets do exist they are not the foundation ontology? - there is no "constitution"

The naming conventions and administrator guidelines are an example of how attempts to define rules for any such open system are bound to fail to be comprehensive. However it is necessary to find and document all feedback loops in order to ensure that constraints, precedents and hidden ways in which the project self-organizes are found quickly, well in advance of the realization of all LP worst cases.


The only known precedents of a living foundation ontology are the Buddhist? Noble Eightfold Path? and Asimov Three Laws of Robotics? and the less known green ethic?. All of these emphasize balances, not decisions.

domains of concern

Any ontology has domains of concern where it is useful and other domains where it may be "overkill" or under-specific.

human command and control

The blurring of civilian and military functions is clearly a trend in developing nations and this is one of the main challenges that a living ontology must address; Its domain is all of human command and control and the application of collective intelligence to decide how to defer and to whom to defer. It applies the theory of intellectual integrity to political science? towards an open and transformative politics?. Its users are those who de-escalate? any human conflict: intra-human, inter-human, and infra-human but not conflicts supernatural or ultra-human. See the list of all issues and news matrix? for structures.

electoral verbs

The common core? of simple verbs describing real-life actions includes a subset of commands relevant to elect representative?s, ratify platform?s, and so on. These are listed on all anonymous modules to control LivingPlatform.CA itself. Using LivingPlatform.CA entails the user learn terms appropriate to cognitive politics, which should amplify the political virtues which distinctions are most central to the ontology core.

answers to citizen questions

Those who answer citizen question?s from such platforms require all party platform comparison charts to imply clearly which policy and spending priorities exist. It should also be possible to reliably specify which human commands are appropriate to issue "as order?s", and when.

An example of the lexicon required is the list of position papers and Answers to Citizen Questionnaires? and mark up and mail back. Without such feedback it is simply incorrect to say that anyone is "listening", either to the answers candidates offer or the questions citizens ask. Accordingly the Green Party of Canada Living Platform was never actually a living ontology. The concept evolved in part because of the consequences of its lack - see this page was removed.

electoral support

Finally, taking the platform into the public arena as candidates and justifying changes to it in practice as representatives, and modifying details and budgets, is a domain of great concern. The candidate portal will be, over time, probably the most important single portal and driving problem? of living ontology itself?.


There are many expressions of living ontology possible:

as candidate portal

The candidate portal will be, over time, probably the most important single portal and driving problem? of living ontology itself?. There is literally nowhere where one is forced to eat our own dog food more literally than on the campaign and electioneer?ing trail.

as enterprise architecture

One reasonable description of the purpose of the ontology is to build a mechanism for human endeavour?, abstract enterprise architecture? or carefully-distincted data dictionary? for network-centric peacemaking. A way to exploit technique? to the max to wage global peace?.

Americans might say that it has potential to "create a global “apparatus” to assure that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? are taken for granted by our children." - http://www.systemperturbations.com(external link) But it is not clear that "our" is in the sense of neighbour?.

as reflexive ruleset

Since the only strict ruleset that can be specified is that regarding control functions, it may be that the reflexive rules are the most vital part of the ontology itself:

The same processes apply to editing these as apply to editing any other "content". This is hard to teach but impossible to deny the value of, once it has taken root:

Once it does, literally anyone can perform any role in the entire system on demand. A failed organization would be almost impossible, disempowered dissensus can merely fork off?, e.g. no one believes Wikipedia can fail even if Wikimedia Foundation does.

as governance rules

Political party governance rules are part of the above:

The list of all issues for instance reflects parallel policy and process common core concerns, those being the authority or deference relations implied by the set of all human command verbs. In other words, the responsibilities of the military?, government and public management. An organization seeking to control these, i.e. a political party in a representative democracy, needs to learn and use these appropriately.

A dysfunctional organization that cannot talk in terms of the functions it seeks to control, should not get that control. The governance rules are thus self-applying and tend to filter the incompetent from ever achieving power - see this page was removed and Pointy Haired Boss.

as reflexive intranet

In this context, LivingPlatform.CA itself evolves a reflexive intranet from the most basic verbs and their variations, as compiled into the list of all control verbs. This is an extraordinarily difficult problem, akin to the development of the standard user interface? that evolved through Xerox, Apple, Windows, web browser?s and web services to the present large public wikis, over TWENTY YEARS of refinement of the verbs employed.

issues: transitive, reflexivity, partOf, contain, attach, member

As of 2005, some complex ontology pattern? issues were outstanding with and around W3 OWL? ontologies, and an active effort to instruct? budding ontologist?s:

esw.w3.org(external link) proposes a primer on "transitive properties?", "pointing out things like that most users of partonomy probably want something that is time specific - X is a part of Y at some implied time T (the type is a part of the car now, but it may not be after the tyre has been changed) - or normative (Xs are considered parts of Ys). You need one or the other to avoid getting into issues about amputated fingers, cat's tails, etc." In this they seek to "steer clear of philosophical concerns such as reflexivity" without which one is doomed to reductionism? and hierarchy?, and stick to "Thing or is_part_of Thing" exactly "because we don't have reflexive relations," and that containment?, attachment?, membership? aren't partOf.

That introduces these and "kinds of partOf? relation?s," as discussed in OWL context at OWL(external link) by domain expert?s and former UML modeller?s. This explains partonomy? and merology?.
  • _is_geographical_region_of location?, e.g. bioregion
  • XML? spacetime DTD?
  • Property hierarchies? or "have?" relations between containment?, location and partonomy.
  • has_part vs. is_part_of (or any other transitive relation? and combinatorial explosion?, classifier?

Explain different kinds of parthood, containment, location, membership, etc. showing the use of the property hierarchy, e.g. this example scheme(external link)

units and measures

Units and measures are not well specified in OWL but are in Cyc?, Tom Gruber?'s ontology in Ontolingua?, and Helena Sofia-Pinto? for SUO? - formerly SUMO?? NIST? is probably the right entity for this in the US, ISO elsewhere.

subjects and objects

The subjectOf? relation is complex. See pronoun and especially we.


Jerry Hobbs? is building a consensus time ontology? based on a lot of existing time ontologies, including the Allen calculus?. The ontology is expressed in FOL (KIF), but there are (necessarily simplified) DAML+OIL and OWL ("OWL-Time") versions. This may become a W3C Note?, hopefully to support backcast to fixed time horizon.


Saying that a binary property "holds" for a time. e.g. that "Chris is a memberOf? the W3C from Sept, 2004 - Sept 2005" makes it fluent? - roughly, it can be said to hold at a time. While OWL-Time let's you represent a time interval like "Sept, 2004-Sept, 2005", it remains neutral wrt what happens at or during, e.g. at a writ drop? orduring election. In FOL a function can add an argument to the predicate, e.g. memberOf(Chris, W3C, time-interval-1), but not in OWL or RDF, limited to binary predicate?s. "Full reification of fluents, as in the existing not on n-ary relations" is one option.


The role OWL and RDF in play semantic integration? of multiple reflexive intranets is far from obvious. The benefits are extreme but few people know about them. Many people think OWL is the silver bullet for semantic integration. A Dagstuhl symposium? on this subject, not specific to OWL, and special issues of AI Magazine? and Sigmod record? will be out on this before end of 2005.


"People who know what "ontology" and "semantics" actually mean (in the much larger world outside of computer science), often ask why the two have become nearly synonymous on the semantic web. Personally, I think its a fair question and a short note on why we're so confused would be worthwhile."


The W3C SWBP? extends ontology classes as values? to deal with ontologies actually deployed in applications. "A list of tool combinations that were known to work" might help the praxis?. LivingPlatform.CA itself might be such a combination that "works", ultimately.


The living ontology will also have to resolve issues re:
  • reasoner?
  • normalisation?
  • numeric range?s
  • closing axiom?s — "without that, classifier?s would seldom produce anything useful" to promote DL ability of OWL
  • string value?s - names etc., helping name discipline
  • priority? in data types
  • domain and range? differences between frames/OO and OWL.

some rights reserved?

The Efficient Civics Guild retains all commercial rights in this ontology. It is used under CC-by-nc-sa at LivingPlatform.CA itself and all other materials used at Living Platform itself.

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